Senator Manny Pacquiao was praised by the Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) on Monday, Aug. 23, despite his shocking defeat to Cuban fighter Yordenis Ugas during their World Boxing Association (WBA) welterweight title match in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Pacquiao, a Philippine Army (PA) reservist with a rank of colonel, “[showed] the true meaning of perseverance against challenges and odds,” according to Col. Ramon Zagala, AFP spokesperson.
“Our eight-division world champion, senator, and brother in the reserve force has nothing more to prove for he has already won the hearts and minds of every Filipino around the world,” he said.
The military spokesperson noted that Pacquiao will remain a legend in the boxing ring and in the communities he has helped as an Army reservist despite the loss.
“We are proud of our champion, for even in defeat he has inspired and shown our soldiers the value of fighting for your country to the very end,” Zagala stated.
The 42-year-old boxer-turned-senator yielded to Ugas on Saturday night in Las Vegas (Sunday in Manila) via a unanimous decision.
The Filipino boxing legend entered the Philippine Army Reserve Command (ARESCOM) in April 2006 and was given the rank sergeant.
In 2017, he was promoted to the rank of colonel.
He was designated as the brigade commander of the Army’s 2203rd Ready Reserve Infantry Brigade in April 2019, covering Maguindanao and SOCCSKSARGEN (Region 12) where his hometown of General Santos City is located.